Reviews

Liner Notes Live

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Produced by Emilie Zoey Baker, Sean M Whelan and Michael Nolan. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Blue Room, Adelaide Festival Centre. 15 June 2019

Liner Notes Live is a literary cabaret in tribute to a classic album, with different artists taking a track and expressing it in their own way: through song, poetry or a personal story, and it’s all held together by a ‘making of’ commentary delivered live from the stage.

Tosca

Music: Giacomo Puccini. Libretto: Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Opera Queensland. Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Director: Patrick Nolan. Conductor: Oliver Von Dohnanyi. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 13-22 June 2019

Opera Queensland’s Artistic Director Patrick Nolan tell us in his notes that “this is the first new production of Tosca presented in Australia for many years”, and what a triumph it was. His idea to re-imagine Puccini’s moody, melodramatic masterpiece in terrorist-torn Italy of the 70s paid off handsomely with some exemplary vocals, emotion-charged acting, a gorgeous orchestral realisation of the score, and all played out on a striking modernist two-level set.

The Silly Season

The Letter String Quartet with Tina Del Twist. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 13-14 June, 2019

Sometimes the most exciting live theatre emerges from a place of uncertainty, a sense of suspense, even a feeling of possible danger. Tina Del Twist generates all of these attributes through her stage persona, but not always to the benefit of her show.

Last Dance, The Forgotten Masters

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Space, Festival Centre, Adelaide, June 14 – 15, 2019

Aaron Cash has worked with some of the greats - Cher, Twyla Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov - and was one of the original Tap Dogs, so it’s only logical that he would create an homage to some of the people that moved him forward in the world of dance.

Don’t be fooled though, Last Dance, The Forgotten Masters is not a biographical creation as such. While Cash’s three characters have their roots in personalities from his past they are stretched to the point of caricature.

One Hander – Tom Campbell

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Quartet Bar, Adelaide Festival Centre, 13-14 June 2019

Tom Campbell is a one-handed gay actor, desperate to make it big on Broadway. In this hour-long cabaret, he tells us his stories of growing up and trying to make a living in show business.

Sweeney Todd

Music, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. Life Like Company. Directed by Theresa Borg. Darling Harbour Theatre, ICC, Sydney, 13-16 June, 2019 and Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, 20 – 23, June.

For those who can’t get enough of Stephen Sondheim, masterly musician and lyricist, and Anthony Warlow, Australia’s greatest baritone performer – well, you’d better get your skates on and head for Sydney’s Darling Harbour. There, at the end of Vivid, you’ll find a brilliant concert version of the epic Sweeney Todd, before it moves to Melbourne for another 6 performances. 

Gloria

By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Outhouse Theatre Co and Seymour Centre. June 6 – 22, 2019

Not very much work happens in the part of the office where the play opens – but on the other hand everything is happening. The agenda of the magazine journalists is not writing stories, rather who attended the housewarming party of misfit Gloria the night before, can the intern fetch something from the vending machine, bitching about an article written by another reporter and private phone calls.

Dami Im – My Life In Songs

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Centre, Adelaide, June 13 -14, 2019

We are all familiar with the Dami Im, winner of the fifth season of X Factor Australia, whose debut single “Alive” reached number one on the Aria Albums Chart andwho represented Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song “Sound of Silence”. There she won the jury vote, coming second overall with a total of 511 points. But how much do we know of the real Dami?

In an extremely compelling evening of song,Dami Im – My Life in Songs explores her story as a Korean immigrant and her climb to success.

When the Light Leaves

By Rory Godbold. Directed by Jayde Kirchert. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street Carlton. 12 – 23 June 2019.

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) is a topic that has long been avoided in our legal, social and moral discourse. Rory Godbold challenges this through a deeply personal account of the loss of a loved one and this brings an engrossing rawness and authenticity to the play.

Murder on the Wireless

By Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Kilmurry. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 7 June – 13 July 2019

This is a strange one. The first night audience assembled, ready to laugh or gasp at a new play by Mark Kilmurry, Artistic Director of the Ensemble. He welcomes them, explains in character that this is London in 1959, that we are to see two radio plays performed in real time. He introduces his fellow actors (Georgie Parker and Daniel Mitchell) and the Foley Artist (Katie Fitchett) who will provide all necessary background sounds, from door-bangs to footsteps in the gravel. Audience primed, ready for fun, so off we go!

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